Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Second Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau


A “biracial baby boom” has taken place in America (Root, 1992). More than six million people chose to check more than one box on the 2000 census and according to Herman (2004), children and youth constituted forty-two percent of the American multiracial population. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of biracial college students in order to understand the specific issues related to their racial identity development. Nine biracial individuals participated in this phenomenological qualitative study. A variety of factors emerged (parental influence, social networks and appearance) as determinants to how these biracial individuals self-identified. Participants also reported the specific challenges and benefits to being biracial. These findings present implications for the formation of a biracial identity development theory. These findings also have implications for Student Development programming targeted toward biracial college students.